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Public Advocate Advisory

Local Utility Announces Comprehensive Settlement of Longstanding Sewer and Water Rate Disputes

February 1, 2012

Anchorage, Alaska - Today the Attorney General (AG) and Fairbanks Sewer and Water, Inc. (FSW), announced a comprehensive settlement of a series of three utility rate cases stretching back to 2005.  This settlement will not affect current water and sewer rates in the Fairbanks area, but resolves issues of how much of the interim rates charged from 2005 to 2009 FSW must refund to customers of Golden Heart Utilities, Inc. (GHU) and College Utilities Corporation (CUC).  Under the terms of the settlement, FSW will refund a total of $4.47 million in principal and interest to customers in the Fairbanks area based on pro-rata usage amounts during the years interim rates were in effect.    This settlement resolves two superior court appeals as well as ongoing proceedings before the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) for these three rate cases.  Assuming that it is approved by the RCA, the stipulation provides that refunds will be sent to consumers within 90 days of the Superior Court issuing an order allowing disbursal of money already placed in escrow for that purpose.

The Attorney General’s office, which represents the public interest in rate cases, believes that the settlement is fair and it is in the public interest to bring finality and closure to this contentious litigation, allowing refunds to be issued. Oran Paul, Chief Operating Officer of the utilities, also agrees that the settlement is fair.  “The Utilities have worked closely with the Attorney General’s office to resolve these cases and we will continue to focus on and look to the future.  We are committed to providing Fairbanks with excellent customer and utility service.”

For more information, contact Assistant Attorney General Sam Cason, (907) 269-5100, or Utility Services of Alaska’s Director of Administration, Tiffany Van Horn, at 479-3118.

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